Laws and regulations controlling health and safety are as complex as they are ubiquitous. Because of the nature of health and safety regulations, they involve businesses in every field and industry. The smallest startup to the multi-national corporations all invest significant resources to keep up with these complex laws and to remain in compliance.
It is understandable when these companies who are working so hard to protect our environment come across stories of fraud or misconduct by the very people who are issuing or enforcing these laws. But it appears that that is what happened in New York recently.
The recent report of fraudulent reporting
According to a recent press release from the New York Attorney General, Letitia James, an investigation was conducted into the filing of false inspection reports by four Certified Asbestos Investigators (CAIs). According to the charges, these inspectors filed reports regarding inspections they conducted on days when they were out of town or out of the state entirely.
Ultimately, the recent arraignment involved “a total of 19 counts, including Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a Class E Felony, which carries a maximum jail sentence of up to four years.”
Research conducted into reports filed determined that the inspectors were not actually present on the dates in which they claimed to have conducted inspections. Their role was to inspect buildings for asbestos in order to make sure all business and building owners were compliant with the relevant asbestos laws.
How to respond to this story
For business owners in Ohio and throughout the world, a story like this can be disheartening. In addition to being illegal and putting their entire city at risk, false inspections like this can be disheartening and even offensive to the corporations spending so much time and money to make sure they remain in compliance.
While, fortunately, there has been no report of this type of fraudulent inspection reporting in Ohio, it is still upsetting. The temptation for a corporation would be grow lax in their health and safety standards. But this would be a tremendous mistake.
The story above is just one example of a few isolated individuals breaking the law, if the accusations are accurate. In most cases, inspectors are professional and thorough. It is imperative for businesses and corporations to maintain a steady practice of compliance audits and of being proactive about maintaining the highest standards of health and safety.